The Flora of the Region of the Yosemite

A mountain storm raged with such violence as to stampede the mules
of the pack-train while the escort were encamped on the South Fork.
The mules were not overtaken until they reached the foot-hills of the
Fresno. In the meantime, while impatiently awaiting their return, our
rations gave out. In order to somewhat appease our hunger, Dr. Black
distributed his hospital stores among us. There were some canned fruits
and meats, and several cans of oysters and clams. The southerners of
the command waived their rights to the clams, but cast lots for the
oysters. Thinking we had a prize in the clams, we brought to bear our
early recollections of Eastern life, and compounded a most excellent
and, what we supposed would be, a most nourishing soup. Our enjoyment,
however, of this highly prized New England dish was of short duration;
for from some cause, never satisfactorily explained by Dr. Black, _or
other eminent counsel_, our Eastern mess, as if moved by one impulse
of re-gurgitation, _gave up their clams_. Fortunately for us our
supplies arrived the next morning; for the game procurable was not
sufficient for the command. Major Savage sent Cow-chitty, a brother
of Pon-wat-chee, the chief of the Noot-choo band, whose village we
surprised before we discovered the valley, as chief of scouts. He was
accompanied by several young warriors, selected because they were
all familiar with the Sierra Nevada trails and the territory of the
Pai-utes, where it was thought probable the expedition would penetrate.

Captain Boling had in his report to Major Savage, complained of
the incapacity of Sandino as guide, and expressed the opinion that
he stood in awe of Ten-ie-ya. By letter, the Major replied, and
particularly advised Captain Boling that implicit confidence could
be placed in Cow-chitty and his scouts, as the sub-chief was an old
enemy of Ten-ie-ya, and was esteemed for his sagacity and wood-craft,
which was superior to that of any Indian in his tribe. Captain Boling
had improved in health and strength, and concluded to venture on
his contemplated expedition over the mountains. He at once ordered
preparations to be made. A camp-guard was detailed, and a special
supply train fitted out. All was ready for a start in the morning.
During the evening Captain Boling consulted our new guide as to what
trail would be best to follow to the Mono pass and over the mountains.
Cow-chitty had already learned from our Po-ho-no scouts and those of
his own tribe, the extent of our explorations, and had had a long talk
with Sandino as well as with Ten-ie-ya. The mission Indian and the
old chief tried to make the new guide believe that the Yosemites had
gone over the mountains to the Monos. Indian-like, he had remained
very grave and taciturn, while the preparations were going on for the
expedition. Now, however, that he was consulted by Captain Boling, he
was willing enough to give his advice, and in a very emphatic manner
declared his belief to the Captain that Ten-ie-ya’s people were not far
off; that they were either hiding in some of the rocky cañons in the
vicinity of the valley, or in those of the Tuolumne, and discouraged
the idea of attempting the expedition with horses. Although this
did not coincide with the views of our Captain, the earnestness of
Cow-chitty decided him to make another attempt in the near vicinity
before crossing the mountains. The horses and supply-train were
accordingly left in camp, and we started at daylight on foot, with
three days’ rations packed in our blankets. We left the valley this
time by way of the Py-we-ack cañon, and ascended the north cliff trail,
a short distance above “Mirror Lake.” Soon after reaching the summit,
Indian signs were discovered near the trail we were on. The old trail
up the slope of the cañon, was here abandoned, and the fresh trail
followed up to and along the ridges just below the snow line. These
signs and the tortuous course pursued, were similar to the tracks
followed on our trip up Indian Cañon, and were as easily traced until
we reached an elevation almost entirely covered with snow from five to
ten feet deep, except on exposed tops of ridges, where the snow had
blown off to the north side or melted away.

I had accompanied our guide in advance of the command, but observing
that our course was a zig-zag one, some times almost doubling on our
trail, I stopped and told the guide to halt until the Captain came
up. He had been following the ridges without a sign of a trail being
visible, although he had sometimes pointed to small pieces of coarse
granite on the rocky divides, which he said had been displaced by
Ten-ie-ya’s scouts. That in going out or returning from their camps,
they had kept on the rocky ridges, and had avoided tracking the snow or
soft ground, so as to prevent the Americans from following them. As we
stopped, he called me a little out of hearing of those with me, and by
pantomime and a few words indicated his belief in the near presence of

When the Captain came up he said: “The hiding-place of the Yosemites
is not far off. If they had crossed the mountains their scouts would
not be so careful to hide their trail. They would follow the old trail
if they came to watch you, because it is direct, and would only hide
their tracks when they were again far from the valley and near their
rancheria.” This was, in part, an answer to Captain Boling’s inquiry
as to why we had left the old trail, and gone so far out of our way.
I explained to him what Cow-chitty had stated, and pointed out what
the guide or scout said was a fresh trail. The Captain looked tired
and disheartened, but with a grim smile said: “That may be a fresh
Indian track, but I can’t see it. If left to my own feelings and
judgment, I should say we were on another wild-goose chase. If the
guide can see tracks, and thinks he has got ’em this time, I reckon
it is better to follow on; but if there is any short-cut tell him to
give us some landmarks to go by; for I find I am not as strong as I
thought. Let us take another look at this _fresh_ trail, and then
you may get Cow-chitty’s idea as to the probable course this trail
will take further on.” As we moved up the trail a little farther, the
expert scout pointed out more fresh signs, but Captain Boling failed to
discern a trail, and gave up the examination, and as he seated himself
for a momentary rest, said: “I reckon it is all right, Doc. The Major
says in his letter that I can bet on Cow-chitty every time. But I can’t
see any more of a trail on this rocky ridge than I can see the trail of
that wood-pecker as he flies through the air, but I have some faith in
instinct, for I reckon that is what it is that enables him to follow a
trail that he imagines should be there. We shall have to trust him to
follow it, and let him have his own way as you would a fox-hound; if he
don’t, puppy-like, take the back track, or run wild with us over some
of these ledges.” Old Ten-ie-ya was now appealed to for information
concerning the fresh signs, but he only reiterated his former statement
that his people had gone over the mountains to the Monos, and the signs
he said were those of Tuolumne Indians. Captain Boling had taken the
old chief along with us on this trip, hoping to make him of some use,
if not directly as guide, indirectly; it was thought he might betray
his people’s hiding-place. But the Captain was disappointed in this,
for no finished gamester ever displayed a more immovable countenance
than did Ten-ie-ya when questioned at any time during the expedition. A
cord had again been placed around his waist to secure his allegiance,
and as we were about to move ahead once more, he very gravely said that
if we followed the signs, they would take us over to the Tuolumne.

Before this Sandino had professed to agree with Ten-ie-ya, but now he
carefully withheld his own opinions, and as carefully rendered his
interpretations. He feared Cow-chitty more than Ten-ie-ya; and he was
frequently seen to cross himself while muttering his prayers. Spencer
and myself re-assured the timid creature, and made him quite happy
by telling him that we would guard him against the “Gentiles,” as he
called the natives.

I explained to Cow-chitty our inability to follow the tracks as he
did over the bare granite. This flattered him, and he then pointed
out his own method of doing so, which was simple enough with one of
keen sight. It consisted entirely in discovering fragments of stone
and moss that had been displaced, and broken off and scattered upon
the ground. The upper surface of the broken fragments of stone were
smooth and bleached, while the under surface was dark or colored. It
was impossible to walk over these stony ridges without displacing
some of the fragments, and these the quick eye of Cow-chitty was sure
to discover. Cow-chitty was pleased when told of Captain Boling’s
appreciation of his sagacity, and honored by the confidence the
Captain began to show him. He expressed his gratification by being
more communicative than he had been before. He said, “These signs tell
me that the Yosemite scouts have been watching all the movements of
the Americans, and the trails that will take you to their camps. They
will not look for you on this trail. They are watching for you from
the ridges nearer the valley. We will not have to go far to find their
camps. This trail will lead us to the head of the Py-we-ack, where the
Pai-ute or Mono trail crosses into the upper valley of the Tuolumne;
and if we don’t find them at the lake, we will soon know if they have
crossed the mountains.”

He then proposed that Captain Boling send out scouts to intercept
and capture the Yosemite scouts, who might be below us watching the
valley. This being interpreted to Captain Boling, he at once adopted
the suggestion of the scout. He selected three of our best runners,
and directed Cow-chitty to select three of his. These were sent out
in pairs–an Indian and a white man. The scouts were placed under
direction of the sub-chief, who followed the trail, and indicated to
the Captain the most direct route for the main body to follow. In
health Captain Boling was athletic and ambitious on the march. He had
now, however, over-estimated his strength, and suffered considerably
from fatigue; but the halt afforded him a rest that very much refreshed
him. I traveled with him during the remainder of the march, so as to
be near him as interpreter, and took charge of Ten-ie-ya. The Captain,
Ten-ie-ya, Sandino and myself traveled together. Our march was more
leisurely than in the earlier part of the day. This allowed Captain
Boling to somewhat recover from his fatigue.

On an ascending spur that ran down to the Py-we-ack, we found
Cow-chitty quietly awaiting our approach. As we halted, he pointed out
to Captain Boling a dim circle of blue smoke, that appeared to eddy
under the lee of a large granite knob or peak, and said, “Rancheria.”
Old Ten-ie-ya was standing in front of me, but exhibited no interest in
the discovery. As I lowered my line of vision to the base of the cliff,
to trace the source of the smoke, there appeared the Indian village,
resting in fancied security, upon the border of a most beautiful
little lake, seemingly not more than a half mile away. To the lake I
afterwards gave the name of Ten-ie-ya. The granite knob was so bare,
smooth and glistening, that Captain Boling at once pointed it out, and
selected it as a landmark. He designated it as a rallying point for his
men, if scattered in pursuit, and said that we should probably camp
near it for the night.

While the Captain was studying the nature of the ground before us,
and making his arrangements to capture the village, our scouts were
discovered in full chase of an Indian picket, who was running towards
the village as if his life depended upon his efforts. In the excitement
of the moment Captain Boling ordered us to double-quick and charge,
thinking, as he afterwards said, that the huts could not be much more
than half a mile away. Such a mistake could only originate in the
transparent air of the mountains. The village was fully two miles or
more away. We did, however, double-quick, and I kept a gait that soon
carried Ten-ie-ya and Sandino, with myself, ahead of our scattering
column. Finding the rope with which I held Ten-ie-ya an encumbrance in
our rapid march, I wound it round his shoulder and kept him in front of
me. While passing a steep slope of overlapping granite rock, the old
chief made a sudden spring to the right, and attempted to escape down
the ragged precipice. His age was against him, for I caught him just
as he was about to let himself drop from the projecting ledge to the
ground below; his feet were already over the brink.

I felt somewhat angered at the trick of the old fellow in attempting to
relieve himself from my custody, and the delay it had occasioned me;
for we had taken the most direct although not the smoothest course.
I resumed our advance at a gait that hurried the old sachem forward,
perhaps less carefully and more rapidly than comported with the dignity
of his years and rank. I was amused at the proposition of one of the
“boys” who had witnessed the transaction, to “shoot the old devil, and
not be bothered with him any more.” I of course declined this humane
proposition to relieve me of further care, and at once became the
chief’s most devoted defender, which observing, he afterwards told
Captain Boling that I was “very good.” As we reached the more gently
descending ground near the bottom of the slope, an Indian came running
up the trail below us that led to the Rancheria. His course was at an
acute angle to the one pursued by us toward the village, which was
now but a few rods off. I ordered Sandino to cut him off and capture
him before he should reach the camp. This was accomplished with great
energy and a good degree of pride.

The Yosemites had already discovered our approach, but too late for
any concerted resistance or for successful escape, for Lt. Crawford at
the head of a portion of the command, dashed at once into the center
of the encampment, and the terror-stricken Indians immediately threw
up their bare hands in token of submission, and piteously cried out
“pace! pace!” (peace, peace). As I halted to disarm the scout captured
by Sandino, I was near enough to the camp to hear the expressions of
submission. I was compelled to laugh at the absurd performances of
Sandino, who to terrify his prisoner, was persistently holding in
his face an old double-barreled pistol. I was aware the weapon was a
harmless one, for one hammer was gone, and the other could not be
made to explode a cap. I took the bow and arrows from the frightened
savage, and as Captain Boling came up I reported the capture, telling
him at the same time of the surrender of the village or Rancheria to
Lt. Crawford. Seeing some of the Indians leaving the camp, and running
down the lake to a trail crossing its outlet, the Captain and the men
with him sprang forward through the grove of pines near the crossing,
and drove them back. No show of resistance was offered, neither did any
escape from us.

While Captain Boling was counting his prisoners and corralling them
with a guard, I, by his previous order, restrained Ten-ie-ya from any
communication with his people. The chief of this village was a young
man of perhaps thirty years of age. When called upon by the Captain to
state how many were under his command, he answered that those in the
encampment were all that was left; the rest had scattered and returned
to the tribes they sprung from. Ten-ie-ya seemed very anxious to answer
the interrogations made to the young chief, but Captain Boling would
not allow his farther interference, and jokingly told me to send him
over among the women who were grouped a little aside, as he was now
about as harmless. I acted upon the suggestion, and upon his being told
that he had the liberty of the camp if he made no further attempts to
escape, the old fellow stepped off briskly to meet his four squaws,
who were with this band, and who seemed as pleased as himself at their

Captain Boling felt satisfied that the answer given by this
half-starved chief, and the few braves of his wretched looking band,
were as truthful as their condition would corroborate. Finding
themselves so completely surprised, notwithstanding their extreme
vigilance, and comparing the well kept appearance of their old chief
with their own worn out, dilapidated condition, they with apparent
anxiety expressed a willingness for the future to live in peace with
the Americans. All hopes of avoiding a treaty, or of preventing their
removal to the Reservation, appeared to have at once been abandoned;
for when the young chief was asked if he and his band were willing
to go to the Fresno, he replied with much emotion of gesture, and as
rendered by Sandino to Spencer and myself: “Not only willing, but
anxious;” for, said he: “Where can we now go that the Americans will
not follow us?” As he said this, he stretched his arms out toward the
East, and added: “Where can we make our homes, that you will not find
us?” He then went on and stated that they had fled to the mountains
without food or clothing; that they were worn out from watching our
scouts, and building _signal-fires_ to tire us out also.

They had been anxious to embroil us in trouble by drawing us into the
cañons of the Tuolumne, where were some Pai-utes wintering in a valley
like Ah-wah-ne. They had hoped to be secure in this retreat until the
snow melted, so that they could go to the Mono tribe and make a home
with them, but that now he was told the Americans would follow them
even there, he was willing, with all his little band, to go to the
plains with us. After the young chief had been allowed full liberty of
speech, and had sat down, Ten-ie-ya again came forward, and would have
doubtless made a _confession of faith_, but his speech was cut short
by an order from Captain Boling to at once move camp to a beautiful
pine grove on the north side of the outlet to the lake, which he had
selected for our camping-place for the night. By this order he was able
to have everything in readiness for an early start the next morning.
There was an abundance of dry pine, convenient for our camp fires, and
as the night was exceedingly cold, the glowing fires were a necessity
to our comfort. The Indians were told to pack such movables as they
desired to take with them, and move down at once to our camp-ground.

The scene was a busy one. The squaws and children exhibited their
delight in the prospect of a change to a more genial locality, and
where food would be plenty. While watching the preparations of the
squaws for the transfer of their household treasures and scanty stores,
my attention was directed to a dark object that appeared to be crawling
up the base of the first granite peak above their camp. The polished
surface of the gleaming rock made the object appear larger than the
reality. We were unable to determine what kind of an animal it could
be; but one of our scouts, to whom the name of “Big Drunk” had been
given, pronounced it a papoose, although some had variously called it
a bear, a fisher or a coon. “Big Drunk” started after it, and soon
returned with a bright, active boy, entirely naked, which he coaxed
from his slippery perch. Finding himself an object of curiosity his
fright subsided, and he drew from its hiding-place, in the bushes near
by, a garment that somewhat in shape, at least, resembled a man’s
shirt. “_The Glistening Rocks_” had rendered us all oblivious to the
color, and that was left undetermined. This garment swept the ground
after he had clothed himself with it. His ludicrous appearance excited
our laughter, and as if pleased with the attentions paid to him, the
little fellow joined heartily in the merriment he occasioned. It will
not be out of place to here relate the sequel of this boy’s history.
Learning that he was an orphan and without relatives, Captain Boling
adopted him, calling him “Reube,” in honor of Lt. Reuben Chandler, who
after Captain Boling was the most popular man in the battalion.

Some three or four years afterward, the boy, as if to illustrate the
folly of the Captain in trying to civilize and educate him, ran away
from his patron, taking with him two valuable, thorough-bred Tennessee
horses, much prized by the Captain; besides money, clothing and arms
belonging to the Captain’s brother-in-law, Col. Lane, of Stockton,
in whose charge Captain Boling had placed him, that he might have
the advantages of a good school. After collecting together all the
Indians found in this encampment; the total number was found to be but
thirty-five, nearly all of whom were in some way a part of the family
of the old patriarch, Ten-ie-ya. These were escorted to our camp, the
men placed under guard, but the women and children were left free.

This was accomplished before sun down, and being relieved of duty, a
few of us ran across the outlet of the lake, and climbing the divide
on the south side of the lake, beheld a sunset view that will long
be remembered. It was dark when we reached camp, and after a scanty
repast, we spread our blankets, and soon were wrapped in slumber sweet.

We were awakened by the cold, which became more uncomfortable as night
advanced, and finding it impossible to again compose ourselves to
sleep, Captain Boling aroused the camp, and preparations were made by
the light of the blazing camp-fires for an early start for the valley.
Desiring some clean, fresh water, I went to the lake as the nearest
point to obtain it, when, to my surprise, I found that the new ice
formed during the night and connecting the old ice with the shore of
the lake, was strong enough to bear me up. At a point where the old ice
had drifted near, I went out some distance upon it, and it appeared
strong enough to have borne up a horse. This was about the 5th of June,
1851. The change of temperature from summer in the valley to winter
on the mountains, without shelter, was felt by us all. After a hasty
breakfast, the word was passed to assemble, and we were soon all ready
for the order to march. All at once there was turmoil and strife in
camp, and what sounded to my ears very much like a Chinese concert.
Captain Boling was always a man of gallantry, and in this instance
would not allow the squaws to take the burden of the baggage. Hence the
confusion and delay. He ordered the Indians to carry the packs–burdens
they had imposed on their women. This order brought down upon him
the vituperations of the squaws and sullen murmurs from the “noble
red men;” as often happens in domestic interference, _the family was
offended_. Ten-ie-ya rose to explain, and waxed eloquent in his protest
against this innovation on their ancient customs.

As soon as the Captain was made aware of the old fellow’s object
in having “a talk,” he cut short the debate by ordering one of the
lieutenants to see that every Indian, as well as squaw, was properly
loaded with a just proportion of their burdens. The real object of the
Captain was to facilitate the return to the valley, by making it easy
for the squaws and children to accompany us through without delays.
One amusing feature in this arrangement was, that long after the men
had been silenced, their squaws continued to murmur at the indignity
practiced on their disgraced lords. I have my doubts, even to this
day, whether the standard of women’s rights was ever again _waved_
among the mountain tribes after this “special order” was issued by our
good-hearted Captain.

In order to take the most direct route to the valley, Captain Boling
selected one of the young Yosemite Indians to lead the way with our
regular guide. Being relieved of the charge of Ten-ie-ya, I took my
usual place on the march with the guide. This position was preferred
by me, because it afforded ample opportunity for observation and time
for reflection; and beside, it was in my nature to be in advance.
The trail followed, after leaving the lake, led us over bare granite
slopes and hidden paths, but the distance was materially shortened. A
short distance below the bottom land of the lake, on the north side
of the cañon and at the head of the gorge, the smooth, sloping granite
projects like a vast roof over the abyss below. As we approached this,
our young guide pointed toward it.

By close observation I was able to discover that the trail led up its
sloping surface, and was assured by the guide that the trail was a
good one. I felt doubtful of the Captain’s willingness to scale that
rocky slope, and halted for him to come up. The Captain followed the
trail to its termination in the soil, and saw the cause of my having
halted. Upon the discoloration of the rock being pointed out as the
continuation of the trail, he glanced up the granite slope and said,
“Go on, but be watchful, for a slide into the gorge would bring as
certain death as a slide from that San Joaquin trail, which I have not
yet forgotten.” Some of the command did not fancy this any more than
they did the Ten-ie-ya trail down “Indian Cañon.” We all pulled off
our hoots and went up this slope bare-footed. Seeing there was no real
danger, the most timid soon moved up as fearless as the others. I, with
the advance, soon reached the soil above, and at the top halted until
the Indians and our straggling column closed up. As I looked about me,
I discovered, unfolding to my sight, one of the most charming views
in this sublimest scenery of nature. During the day before, we had
looked with astonishment on the almost boundless peaks, and snow-capped
mountains, to be seen from the Mt. Hoffman divide. But here some of the
same views appeared illuminated. In our ascent up the mountain, we had
apparently met the rising sun. The scene was one long to be remembered
for its brilliancy, although not describable.

Mr. Addison, in the _Spectator_, says: “Our imagination loves to be
filled with an object, or to grasp at anything that is too big for its
capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded
views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul.” Mr.
Addison has here expressed the feelings entertained by some of us, as
the view met our gaze while looking out to the east, the south and the
west. Although not sufficiently elevated to command a general outlook,
the higher ridges framing some of the scenery to the north and eastward
of us, the westerly view was boundless. The transparency of the
atmosphere was here extreme, and as the sun illumined the snow-clad and
ice-burnished peaks, the scene aroused the enthusiasm of the command to
a shout of glad surprise.

The recollections of the discomforts of the night were banished by
the glory of the morning as here displayed. Even the beauties of the
Yosemite, of which I was so ardent an admirer, were for the moment
eclipsed by this gorgeously grand and changing scene. The aurora that
had preceded the rising sun was as many-hued, and if possible more
glorious, than the most vivid borealis of the northern climes. But when
the sun appeared, seemingly like a sudden flash, amidst the distant
peaks, the climax was complete. My opportunities for examining the
mountain scenery of the Sierra Nevada above the immediate vicinity of
the Yosemite, were such as to only enable me to give a somewhat general
description, but the views that I had during our explorations afforded
me glimpses of the possibilities of sublime mountain scenery, such
as I had never before comprehended, although familiar with the views
afforded from some of the peaks of Mexico and of the Rocky Mountains.
I doubt even if the Yellow Stone, supreme in some of its attractions,
affords such varied and majestic beauty.

Looking back to the lovely little lake, where we had been encamped
during the night, and watching Ten-ie-ya as he ascended to our group, I
suggested to the Captain that we name the lake after the old chief, and
call it “Lake Ten-ie-ya.” The Captain had fully recovered from his
annoyance at the scene in camp, and readily consented to the name, but
added that I had evidently mistaken my vocation.


Noticing my look of surprise, he jokingly said that if I had only
studied divinity instead of medicine, I could have then fully gratified
my passion for christening. This, of course, brought out a general
guffaw, and thinking me annoyed, he said: “Gentlemen, I think the name
an appropriate one, and shall use it in my report of the expedition.
Beside this, it is rendering a kind of justice to perpetuate the name
of the old chief.”

When Ten-ie-ya reached the summit, he left his people and approached
where the Captain and a few of us were halting. Although he had been
snubbed by the Captain that morning, he now seemed to have forgotten
it, and his rather rugged countenance glowed with healthful exercise
in the sunlight. I had handled him rather roughly the day before, but
as he now evidently wished to be friendly, I called him up to us, and
told him that we had given his name to the lake and river. At first, he
seemed unable to comprehend our purpose, and pointing to the group of
Glistening peaks, near the head of the lake, said: “It already has a
name; we call it Py-we-ack.” Upon my telling him that we had named it
Ten-ie-ya, because it was upon the shores of the lake that we had found
his people, who would never return to it to live, his countenance fell
and he at once left our group and joined his own family circle. His
countenance as he left us indicated that he thought the naming of the
lake no equivalent for the loss of his territory.

I never at any time had real personal dislike for the old sachem.
He had always been an object of study, and I sometimes found in him
profitable entertainment. As he moved off to hide his sorrow, I pitied
him. As we resumed our march over the rough and billowy trail, I was
more fully impressed with the appropriateness of the name for the
beautiful lake. Here, probably, his people had built their last wigwams
in their mountain home. From this lake we were leading the last remnant
of his once dreaded tribe, to a territory from which it was designed
they should never return as a people. My sympathies, confirmed in my
own mind, a justness in thus perpetuating the name of Ten-ie-ya. The
Indian name for this lake, branch and cañon, “Py-we-ack” is, although a
most appropriate one, now displaced by that of the old chief Ten-ie-ya.
Of the signification of the name Ten-ie-ya, I am uncertain; but as
pronounced by himself, I have no doubt of its being pure Indian.

The whole mountain region of the water-sheds of the Merced and Tuolumne
rivers afford the most delightful views to be seen anywhere of
mountains, cliffs, cascades and waterfalls, grand forests and mountain
meadows, and the Soda Springs are yet destined to become a favorite
summer resort. Mr. Muir has well said that the “upper Tuolumne valley
is the widest, smoothest, most serenely spacious, and in every way the
most delightful summer pleasure park in all the High Sierras.”

Now that it has become a part of the new National Park surrounding the
old grant (see new map), and good trails reach it, wagon roads will
soon be extended into the very “heart of the Sierras.”

We reached our camp in the valley without accident. Captain Boling at
once gave orders to make preparations for our return to the Fresno. The
next day we broke camp and moved down to the lower end of the valley
near where we camped on the first night of our discovery, near the
little meadow at the foot of the Mariposa Trail.

At sunrise the next morning, or rather as the reflections on the cliffs
indicated sunrise, we commenced our ascent of the steep trail. As I
reached the height of land where the moving column would soon perhaps
forever shut out from view the immortal “Rock Chief,” my old sympathies
returned, and leaving the command to pursue its heedless way, I climbed
to my old perch where Savage had warned me of danger. As I looked back
upon El Capitan, his bald forehead was cooling in the breeze that swept
by me from the “_Summer land_” _below_, and his cheerful countenance
reflected back the glory of the rising sun. Feeling my own inferiority
while acknowledging the majesty of the scene, I looked back from Mt.
Beatitude, and quoting from Byron, exclaimed:

“Thy vale(s) of evergreen, thy hills of snow
Proclaim thee Nature’s varied favorite now.”

We reached the Fresno without the loss of a captive, and as we turned
them over to the agent, we were formally commended for the success of
the expedition.

A marked and peculiar feature observed in the landscape of the
Merced River slopes, while going to the Yosemite, especially on the
Coultersville route, is the dense growth of the chamiso and the
manzanita. These shrubs are found most abundant below the altitude
of the growth of sugar-pine, upon dry, slaty ground; though a larger
variety of manzanita, distinguishable by its larger blossoms and fruit,
and its love of shade and moist clay-slate soil, may be found growing
even among the sugar-pine. A peculiarity of this shrub is, that like
the Madroña and some trees in Australia, it sheds a portion of its
outer bark annually, leaving its branches beautifully bright and clean.
The manzanita, when in full bloom, is one of the most beautiful of
shrubs; its delicately tinted and fragrant blossoms filling the air
with the perfume of an apple-orchard, while its rich evergreen leaves
are only shed as others put forth. The name, manzanita, is Spanish,
signifying little apple–the fruit in flavor, but more especially in
smell, resembling the apple.

These chamiso and manzanita thickets are almost impenetrable to large
animals, except the California lion and grizzly bear. At certain
seasons of the year, during their trips to and from the High Sierras,
when the berries are ripe, these coverts are the resort of such
visitors. The grizzly comes to indulge his fondness for the little
apples, and the lion (how hath the mighty fallen!) to feed upon the
wood-rats, mice and rabbits that he surprises in these furzy thickets.
Occasionally a deer, as he comes along unconscious of danger, but too
near the feline lair, is pounced upon by the lion, or perhaps a stray
horse or mule may fall a victim; but in no case dare the lion attack
his savage associate the bear, or any of his progeny.

In going to the Yosemite by way of the Mariposa route, after reaching
the summit of the gap or pass in the “Black Ridge” or Chow-chilla
mountain, over which the Mariposa route passes, to the South Fork of
the Merced River, the yellow pine, the sugar pine, the Douglass fir
and two other species of fir, are seen in all their glory. Here, too,
is to be found the variety of white or yellow cedar (_Libo cedrus
decurrens_), growing to a size not seen at a less altitude, unless
perhaps on the north side of some spur from these mountains. If the
ridge be followed to the right as far as the Big Trees, instead of
descending the road to the South Fork, some very large pine, cedar
and fir trees will be seen, in addition to the great attraction, the

At the time I first passed over this route there was but a dim Indian
trail; now, a very good stage or wagon-road occupies it. As the descent
to the South Fork is commenced, dogwood will be observed growing at
the head of a little mountain brook that has its source in the pass,
together with willows and other small growths of trees and shrubs. The
“bush-honeysuckle,” when in bloom, is here especially beautiful; and
several fragrant-blossomed shrubs will attract attention–the kalmia,
especially. The forest on this route is equaled by few in California,
and it extends to the Yosemite almost uninterrupted, except by the
river and a few mountain meadows. The Coultersville route also affords
like views of uninterrupted forest, even to the verge of the valley,
but confined as the trail was when it was first made to the narrow
divide, one could not so well appreciate the beauty of the trees while
looking down upon their tops as he would while riding among them. A few
sequoias can be seen on this route, near Hazel Green and near Crane

Mr. Greeley says: “The Sierra Nevadas lack the glorious glaciers, the
frequent rains, the rich verdure, the abundant cataracts of the Alps,
but they far surpass them; they surpass any other mountains I ever saw,
in wealth and grace of trees. Look down from almost any of their peaks,
and your range of vision is filled, bounded, satisfied, by what might
be termed a tempest-tossed sea of evergreens, filling every upland
valley, covering every hillside, crowning every peak but the highest
with their unfading luxuriance.

“That I saw, during this day’s travel, many hundreds of pines eight
feet in diameter, with cedars at least six feet, I am confident; and
there were miles of such and smaller trees of like genus, standing as
thick as they could grow. Steep mountain sides, allowing these giants,
to grow rank above rank, without obstructing each other’s sunshine,
seem peculiarly favorable to the production of these serviceable
giants. But the summit meadows are peculiar in their heavy fringe of
balsam fir of all sizes, from those barely one foot high to those
hardly less than two hundred; their branches surrounding them in
collars, their extremities gracefully bent down by weight of winter
snows, making them here, I am confident, the most beautiful trees on
earth. The dry promontories which separate these meadows are also
covered with a species of spruce, which is only less graceful than the
firs aforesaid. I never before enjoyed such a tree-feast as on this
wearying, difficult ride.”

Had Mr. Greeley taken more time, it would not have been so wearying to
himself or mule. He rode sixty miles, on one mule the day he went to
the Yosemite, but his observations of what he saw are none the less
just and valuable, though but few of the pine trees will measure eight
feet in diameter. It is true, probably, that few forests in the United
States are so dense and beautiful in variety as those seen on the old
Mariposa route to the Yosemite by way of the meadows of the Pohono
Summit. About these meadows the firs especially attract attention,
from the uniform or geometrical regularity their branches assume.
No landscape gardener could produce such effects as are here freely
presented by the Great Architect of the universe for the admiration
of his wayward children. Here in this region will also be found the
California tamarack pine, and a variety of pine somewhat resembling
the Norway pine, called Pinus Jeffreyi. There is still another pine,
to be found only on the highest ridges and mountains, that may be said
to mark the limit of arbol vegetation; this dwarf is known as _pinus
albicaulis_, and could it but adapt itself to a lower altitude, and
retain its dense and tangled appearance, it would make good hedge-rows.

Professor Whitney speaks of still another one of the pine family,
growing about the head of King’s and Kern Rivers, which he calls
_pinus aristata_, and says it only grows on those highest peaks of the
Sierras, although it is also found in the Rocky Mountains. Of the more
noticeable undergrowth of these mountain forests and their borders,
besides grasses, sedges, ferns, mosses, lichens, and various plants
that require a better knowledge of botany than I possess to describe
properly, may be mentioned the California lilac and dogwood, the latter
of which is frequently seen growing along the mountain streams, and in
the Yosemite. It grows in conjunction with alder, willow, poplar, or
balm of Gilead, and a species of buckthorn. In isolated patches the
Indian arrow-wood is found. This wood is almost without pith, and warps
but little in drying. For these qualities and the uniformity of its
growth, it was especially esteemed for arrow-shafts; although sprouts
from other shrubs and trees were also used.

It will have been observed, while going to the Yosemite, that the
chimaso, white-oak and digger-pine are upon the southern slopes,
while the thickets of mountain-ash, shrub or Oregon maple, and shrub
live-oak, chinquepin and trailing blue and white ceanothus and snow
plant are found upon the north side of the ridges, except when found at
a greater altitude than is usual for their growth. On descending into
the Yosemite, the visitor will at once notice and welcome the variety
of foliage.

Upon the highest lands grow pine, fir, cedar, spruce, oak and shrubs.
In the meadows and upon open ground, according to the richness of the
soil and moisture, will be seen flowers and flowering shrubs of great
brilliancy and variety.

The whole valley had the appearance of park-like grounds, with trees,
shrubbery, flowers and lawns. The larger trees, pines, firs, etc., are
of smaller growth than are usually found on the mountain slopes and
tables. Still, some are of fair dimensions, rising probably to the
height of one hundred and fifty feet or more. One large pine, growing
in an alcove upon the wall of Tote-ack-ah-noo-la,–apparently without
soil–is quite remarkable. The balm of gilead, alder, dogwood, willow
and buck-thorn, lend an agreeable variety to the scenery along the
river. Their familiar appearance seem, like old friends, to welcome the
eastern visitor to this strange and remarkable locality. The black-oak
is quite abundant in the valley and upon the slopes below. It was
the source of supply of acorns used by the Yosemites as food, and as
an article of traffic with their less favored neighbors east of the

Along the river banks and bordering the meadows are found the wild
rose, and where the soil is rich, dry and mellow, the wild sunflower
grows luxuriantly. Of wild fruits, the red raspberry and strawberry are
the only ones worthy of mention, and these are only found in limited
quantities. A thornless red raspberry grows upon the mountains, but its
blossoms are apt to be nipped by frosts and the plant is not a prolific

The meadows of the valley are generally moist, and in the springtime
boggy. Later in the season they become firmer, and some parts of them
where not in possession of sedges, afford an abundant growth of “wild
Timothy;” blue joint, Canada red-top and clover. In addition to these
nutritious meadow-grasses, there is growing on the coarse granite,
sandy land, a hard, tough wire bunch grass unfit for grazing except
when quite young. This grass is highly prized by the Indians for
making baskets and small mats. Its black seeds were pulverized and
used as food, by being converted into mush, or sometimes it was mixed
with acorn meal and was then made into a kind of gruel. The common
“brake” and many beautiful species of rock ferns and mosses are quite
abundant in the shady parts of the valley, and in the cañons, and
more especially are they found growing within the influence of the
cool, moist air near the falls. Growing in the warm sunlight below
El Capitan, may be seen plants common among the foot hills and slaty
mountains. Of these plants, the manzanita, the bahia confertiflora and
the California poppy are the most conspicuous.

The climatic and geologic or local influences upon vegetation in this
part of California, is so remarkable as to continually claim the notice
of the tourist, and induce the study of the botanist. So peculiar are
the influences of elevation, moisture, temperature and soil, that if
these be stated, the flora may be determined with almost unerring
certainty, and _vice versa_, if the flora be designated, the rock’s
exposure and mineral character of the soil will be at once inferred.
The extreme summer temperature of the valley rises but little over 80°
Fahrenheit, during the day, while the nights are always cold enough to
make sleeping comfortable under a pair of blankets.

Thus far in narrating the incidents connected with the discovery of the
Yosemite, I have not been particularly definite in my descriptions of
it. Unconsciously I have allowed myself to assume the position, that
this remarkable locality was familiarly known to every one.

From the discovery of the valley to the present day, the wonders
of this region of sublimity, have been a source of inspiration to
visitors, but none have been able to describe it to the satisfaction
of those who followed after them. The efforts that are still made
to do so, are conclusive evidences that to the minds of visitors,
their predecessors had failed to satisfactorily describe it to their
comprehensions; and so it will probably continue, as long as time shall
last, for where genius even, would be incompetent, egotism may still
tread _unharmed_.

Realizing this, and feeling my own utter inability to convey to another
mind any just conception of the impressions received upon first
beholding the valley, I yet feel that a few details and figures should
be given with this volume. Prof. J. D. Whitney in his “Yosemite Guide
Book” says, in speaking of the history of the discovery and settlement
of the Yosemite Valley: “The visit of the soldiers under Captain Boling
led to no immediate results in this direction. Some stories told by
them on their return, found their way into the newspapers; but it was
not until four years later that so far as can be ascertained, any
persons visited the valley for the purpose of examining its wonders,
or as regular pleasure travelers. It is, indeed, surprising that
so remarkable a locality should not sooner have become known; one
would suppose that accounts of its cliffs and waterfalls would have
spread at once all over the country. Probably they did circulate about
California, and were not believed but set down as “travelers’ stories.”
Yet these first visitors seem to have been very moderate in their
statements, for they spoke of the Yosemite Fall as being “more than a
thousand feet high,” thus cutting it down to less than half its real

At the time of our discovery, and after the subsequent lengthy visit
under Captain Boling, our descriptions of it were received with doubt
by the newspaper world, and with comparative indifference by the
excited and overwrought public of the golden era. The press usually
more than keeps pace with public opinion. Although height and depth
were invariably under-estimated by us, our statements were considered
“too steep” even for the sensational correspondents, and were by them
pronounced exaggerations. These autocrats of public opinion took the
liberty to dwarf our estimates to dimensions more readily swallowed by
their patrons.

I have made many visits to the Yosemite since “our” long sojourn in it
in 1851, and have since that time furnished many items for the press
descriptive of that vicinity. My recollections of some of these will
be given in another chapter. Although many years have rolled off the
calendar of time since the occurrences related in these chapters, no
material change has affected that locality. Human agency can not alter
the general appearance of these stupendous cliffs and waterfalls.

The picturesque wildness of the valley has since our first visits been
to a certain degree toned down by the _improvements_ of civilization.
The regions among the foot-hills and mountains that serve as
approaches to the valley, where we hunted for savages to _make peace
with our National Government_, now boasts of its ranchos and other
improvements. The obscure trails which we followed in our explorations,
and on which we first entered, have long since been abandoned, or
merged into roads or other trails used by the proprietors of the
territory in the vicinity. The white man’s civilized improvements
have superseded them. Instead of the stormy bivouacs of our first
visits, or the canvas of our longer stay, the visitor now has the
accommodations of first-class hotels with modern improvements. The
march of civilization has laid low many of the lofty pines and shady
oak trees that once softened the rough grandeur and wildness of
the scenery. Stumps, bridges and ladders now mark the progress of
improvements. These, however, only affect the ornamental appendages of
the scenery–the perishable portion of it alone. The massive granite
walls are invulnerable to modern ingenuity of adornment. The trail over
which we approached the valley on our first visit was below the more
modern trails, and its general course has now been appropriated by the
stage road over which the tourist visits the Yosemite. The rocky slabs
and stretches down which we then slid and scrambled, have since been
graded and improved, so that the descent is made without difficulty.

The “Mariposa Trail” first approached the verge of the cliffs forming
the south side of the valley, near what is known as “Mount Beatitude,”
or, as the first full view above has been designated, “Inspiration
Point”; which is about 3,000 feet above the level of the valley. In
a direct line from the commencement of the first descent, to where
the trail reaches the valley, the distance is probably less than a
mile, but by the trail, it is nearly four miles in a circuitous zigzag
westerly course. The vertical descent of the trail in that distance is
2,973 feet.[19]

I have adopted the statistics of measurements given by Prof. Whitney
in his “Yosemite Guide Book” as my standard, so as to be modernly
correct. These statistics were from the State Geological Survey, and
are scientifically reliable. From a point on this descending trail, my
most impressive recollections of a general view were first obtained. My
first sight of the Yosemite was suddenly and unexpectedly unfolded from
its junction with the old Indian trail; the view was made complete by
ascending to a granite table. The first object and the principal point
of attraction to my astonished gaze was “El Capitan,” although its
immensity was far from comprehended, until I became familiar with the
proportions of other prominent features of the valley. After passing it
close to its base, on the next day, I made up my mind that it could not
be less than 1,500 or 2,000 feet above the level of the valley.

Prof. Whitney in speaking of this object of grandeur and massiveness,
says: “El Capitan is an immense block of granite, projecting squarely
out into the valley, and presenting an almost vertical sharp edge,
3,300 feet in elevation. The sides or walls of the mass are bare,
smooth, and entirely destitute of vegetation. It is almost impossible
for the observer to comprehend the enormous dimensions of this rock,
which in clear weather can be distinctly seen from the San Joaquin
plains at a distance of fifty or sixty miles. Nothing, however, so
helps to a realization of the magnitude of these masses about the
Yosemite as climbing around and among them. Let the visitor begin to
ascend the pile of _debris_ which lies at the base of El Capitan, and
he will soon find his ideas enlarged on the point in question. And yet
these _debris_ piles along the cliffs, and especially under El Capitan,
are of insignificant size compared with the dimensions of the solid
wall itself. They are hardly noticeable in taking a general view of the
valley. El Capitan imposes on us by its stupendous bulk, which seems as
if hewed from the mountain on purpose to stand as the type of eternal

“It is doubtful if any where in the world there is presented so
squarely cut, so lofty and so imposing a face of rock.” The foregoing
is the most concise and best description of El Capitan I have ever
seen, and yet, it cannot impart the ecstacy of reverence for the
sublime one feels in its presence.

Another peculiarity of El Capitan, is one that belongs to headlands
that are designated points-no-point; that is the apparent difficulty of
passing them. While passing at a distance, the convexity of the wall
seems to remain immediately opposite the observer.

From the Mariposa trail as it descends, can be seen most of the
prominent cliffs which form its massive side walls. This trail reaches
the bottom of the valley near its lower extremity. Below this trail,
it narrows to a rocky cañon, almost impassable except for the Merced
river, which leaves the valley through this gorge. I shall again refer
to this cañon in another chapter.

The valley is about six miles long and from half a mile to over a mile
in width at the head of the valley proper. It is irregular in shape,
but its general direction is nearly east towards its upper end. Its
outlines will be better understood from a view of the accompanying
map, which has been mostly copied from that of the State Geological
Survey–Prof. Whitney’s. The three cañons which open into the valley
at its upper end, are so intimately connected with it that a general
description will include them all, particularly the parts of them in
close proximity to the valley. They will be specially described when

The sides of the valley are walls of a grayish-white granite, which
becomes a dazzling white in a clear sunlight. This intensity of
reflection is, however, toned to a great extent by the varying haze
which permeates the upper atmosphere of the valley for most of the
time. This haze has sometimes the appearance of a light cloud of
blue smoke, with its borders fringed with a silvery vapor. At other
times–during August and September–the tint is enriched, and at
sunrise and sunset for the valley the golden light seems to permeate
the haze, and lend its charm to the gossamer film that shields the
sight from the glare of the reflecting granite.

The walls on each side are in many places perpendicular, and are, from
the level of the valley to the top of the cliffs, from 2,660 to 4,737
feet in height, or, as they are generally described, from half a mile
to a mile in height. Prof. Whitney, however, says: “The valley is sunk
almost a mile in perpendicular depth below the general level of the
adjacent region.” This is undoubtedly correct, for in his description,
he says: “The Yosemite Valley is nearly in the center of the State,
north and south, and just midway between the east and west bases of the
Sierras; here a little over seventy miles wide.”

Prof. Whitney’s estimate of the depth of the valley must be literally
correct, for the general slope of that region is toward the valley,
except from the west, its lower end.

At the base of these cliffs is a comparatively small amount of
_debris_, consisting of broken rocks which have fallen from above. A
kind of soil has accumulated on this talus, which is generally covered
with vegetation. Trees of considerable size–oaks, pines, firs, cedars,
maples, bay and dwarf oak, and lesser shrubs, are frequent. Although
this _debris_ is scarcely observed in a general view, its height above
the bottom of the valley is in many places from three hundred to five
hundred feet next to the cliff, from which it slopes some distance
into the valley. In a few places the bases of the cliffs appear as
if exposed nearly to the level of the valley. The valley proper is
generally level through its entire length. The actual slope given is
“only thirty-five feet between the junctions of the Ten-ie-ya Fork
and the Bridal Veil Creek with the main river, four miles and a half
in a straight line.” The elevation of the valley above the sea level
is 3,950 feet. The Merced River, which is about seventy feet wide in
an ordinary stage of water, courses down through the middle cañon,
meanders through the valley, being restrained or confined to near the
centre of it by the sloping talus at its sides–the sloping _debris_
piles occupying nearly one-half of the bottom of the valley.

Although the soil is principally of a sandy character, the marshy land
subject to overflow, and some of the dry bottom land, have a deep, rich
alluvial soil.

The two beautiful little meadows in the lower section of the valley,
afford forage for animals. On the slope above, not far from the Pohono
Falls, the Yosemities built their huts, as if unconscious of “The
Spirit of the Evil Wind,” near their habitations.

Not far from the foot of the descent of the Mariposa trail, the
original trail branched; one trail continuing on up the south side of
the valley, the other crossing the Merced toward El Capitan. Another
original trail came up on the north side from the gorge below. A small
foot-trail entered this from the northern summit of the Coultersville
trail, but it was purposely left so obscure by the Indians, as to
lead to the belief that it was impassable for horses. This trail was
modernized, and is now known as the “Coultersville Trail.” On angle of
El Capitan is “Ribbon Falls.” The cliff over which the water pours is
nearly 3,000 feet high, but the perpendicular height of the fall is but
little over a thousand feet. This fall is “a beauty” while it lasts,
but it is as ephemeral as a spring shower, and this fact must have been
known to the sponsors at the baptism.

Just above El Capitan are the Three Brothers, the highest peak of these
rocks is 3,830 feet.

Next above these is the Yosemite Fall. The verge of the cliff over
which this fall begins its descent is 2,600 feet above the level of
the valley. Prof. Whitney in describing this fall, says: “The fall is
not in one perpendicular sheet. There is first a vertical descent of
1,500 feet, when the water strikes on what seems to be a projecting
ledge; but which, in reality, is a shelf or recess, almost a third of a
mile back from the front of the lower portion of the cliff. From here
the water finds its way, in a series of cascades, down a descent equal
to 626 feet perpendicular, and then gives one final plunge of about
400 feet on to a low _talus_ of rocks at the base of the precipice.”
He also “estimates the size of the stream at the summit of the fall,
at a medium stage of water, to be twenty feet in width and two feet
in average depth.” The upper portion of the full spread of its base
is estimated to be a width of from one hundred to three hundred feet
at high water. The wind gives this fall a vibratory motion; sometimes
equal to the width of the column of water itself at the base of the
perpendicular descent.

The ravine called Indian Cañon is less than a mile above the Yosemite
Fall; between the two, is the rocky peak called the “Lost Arrow,”
which, although not perpendicular, runs up boldly to a height of 3,030
feet above the level of the Merced.

The Indian name for the ravine called Indian Cañon was Lehamite, and
the cliff extending into the valley from the East side of the Cañon
is known as the “Arrow-wood Rocks.” This grand wall extends almost
at a right angle towards the East, and continues up the Ten-ie-ya
Cañon, forming the base of the North dome (To-co-ya) which rises to an
elevation of 3,568 feet above the valley.

In the cliff which forms the base of this dome-shaped mass of rocks,
are the “Royal Arches,” an immense arched cavity evidently formed by
portions of the cliff becoming detached from some cause, and falling
out in sections to the depth of seventy-five or one hundred feet from
the face of the cliff. The top of the arch appears to be 1,200 feet or
more above the valley. The extreme width of the cavity is about the
same, or perhaps a little more than the height. Adjoining the “Royal
Arches” on the East, is what is called the “Washington Column.” This
projecting rounded mass of rock, may be said to mark the boundary of
the valley proper and the Ten-ie-ya Cañon, which here opens into the
valley from a Northeasterly direction.

On the opposite side of Ten-ie-ya Cañon is the Half Dome (Tis-sa-ack)
the loftiest peak of the granite cliffs that form a part of the walls
of the Yosemite Valley. Its height above the valley is 4,737 feet. On
the side next to Ten-ie-ya Cañon this cliff is perpendicular for more
than 1,500 feet from its summit, and then, the solid granite slopes at
about an angle of 60 degrees to its base. The top of this mass of rock
has the appearance of having been at one time a dome-shaped peak, now
however, but half remains, that portion split off has by some agency,
been carried away. At its Northerly base is Mirror Lake, and farther up
the Cañon is Mt. Watkins, Cloud’s Rest, a cascade, and Lake Ten-ie-ya.

This brief outline of description includes the principal points of
interest on the north side of the valley. From the lower part of the
valley, the first prominent object reached on the south side, is
the Bridal Veil Fall. The water of the “Po-ho-no” here falls over a
cliff from a perpendicular height of 630 feet, onto a sloping pile of
_debris_, about 300 feet above the level of the Merced, in reaching
which it rushes down the slope among the rocks in cascades and
branching outlets. The total height of the cliff over which the water
falls is about 900 feet. The trees on the slope below conceal the lower
part of the fall, so that at a distance it appears as if reaching to
the bottom of the valley. Just above the Bridal Veil are what have
been termed the “Three Graces,” and not far above these, are the
peculiar appearing pinnacles of rocks to which the names of Cathedral
Rock and Cathedral Spires have been given. Cathedral Rock is 2,660
feet high. The spires just beyond are about the same height from the
level of the valley. They are pointed columns of granite 500 feet high,
attached at their base with the cliff forming the side of the valley.
The next prominent object on the south side is Sentinel Rock, 3,043
feet high. This pinnacle of granite is on the extremity of a point of
rocks extending into the valley. For a thousand feet or more, it has
the form of an obelisk, below which it forms a part of the projecting
rocks. The next object is the massive point projecting into the valley,
and which here forms an angle towards the south; it is called Glacier
Point. This has an elevation of 3,200 feet above the valley. From this
point some of the finest views of the vicinity can be seen. Behind
Glacier Point and Sentinel Rock, appearing as if these cliffs formed a
part of its base, is the South Dome, known also as the Sentinel Dome.
The name of “South Dome” was originally given to this dome-shaped mass
of granite by our battalion. It is 4,150 feet above the valley. The
South or Glacier Cañon is just above Glacier Point. At the head of this
rocky impassable cañon, is the beautiful fall I have named “Glacier
Fall.” This fall is about 600 feet high. The middle cañon, Yanopah,
opens from the east. The Merced river comes down this cañon into the

In a distance of two miles, a descent from over 2,000 feet of
perpendicular height is made. This includes the Vernal and Nevada
Falls. The Vernal is about 350 feet high; the Nevada something over 600
feet. The rapids between the falls have a descent of about 300 feet.
The Vernal and Nevada are about one mile apart. On the north side of
the middle cañon is the Cap of Liberty, rising to a height of 2,000
feet above its base near the foot of the Nevada Fall. This stupendous
mass of rock stands nearly perpendicular on all sides but one. Farther
up, on the south side of Ten-ie-ya Cañon, is Clouds Rest, which is
6,000 feet above the bottom of the Yosemite. Between Glacier Cañon and
Yanopah is the Noble Starr King. The immense cliff forming the extreme
westerly point of the divide between Ten-ie-ya Cañon and the Yanopah
branch, has had various names affixed to it, none of which seems to
have been satisfactory. It was between the lower face of this wall and
Glacier Point that Capt. Boling laid off and had cleared for use his
race-course; and hence, in speaking of the locality, it was sometimes
designated as Boling’s Point, as the starting place for the race.

On arriving at head-quarters on the Fresno, with the remnant of the
once numerous and defiant band of Yosemite Indians, whose thieving
propensities and murderous attacks had made them a dread to miners
and “ranche” men; we found a general feeling of confidence that the
“Indian war” was ended. The commissioners, with a special escort of U.
S. soldiers which had accompanied them from San Francisco, had gone
to King’s River to treat with the bands collected for that purpose;
and were then to visit the region farther South on their way to Los
Angelos, where they expected to meet and co-operate with Gen. Bean, who
was stationed with his volunteer force at the Cahon Pass. Major Savage
had learned from his Indians, who once more seemed to idolize him, that
all the bands in the vicinity of the Kings and Kah-we-ah rivers, had
“made peace,” and that the commissioners had started for Te-jon Pass.

Considering the Indian outbreak as completely suppressed, the major at
once reported the condition of affairs to the governor, and recommended
that the “Mariposa Battalion” be mustered out and honorably discharged
from further service. He sent Captain Boling to report in person to
the commissioners. I was detailed as one of the Captain’s escort, and
Mr. Winchester, a newspaper correspondent, accompanied us. Captain
Boling expected to overtake the commissioners at Te-hon Pass.

This trip was in no way objectionable to me, for I was desirous to
visit that part of the country with a view of selecting a location, if
I found my plans to be practicable. Through the advice of Major Savage,
I had in contemplation a design to establish a trading post in the
vicinity of Te-hon Pass. In this project, I was assured of the Major’s
friendship and co-operation as soon as the battalion was mustered out.
He designed to extend his trading operations, and thought that a post
in the vicinity of the pass would control the trade destined to spring
up on both sides of the mountains. I was provided with recommendations
to the commissioners, to use in case I desired a trader’s permit on
one of the reservations. The commissioners were while _en route_
prospecting for locations and selections of public lands for the
Indians. The object of these selections, was to make the experiment
of engaging them in agricultural pursuits under the management of the
general government. I had but little confidence that the latter could
be made self-supporting wards of the nation; but I was willing in
political as in religious affairs, that each zealot should believe that
he had discovered a sovereign balm for the wants of humanity. However,
self-interest prompted me to be observant of passing events.

I was aware, even at that early day, that the California Indians had
become objects of speculation to the “rings” that scented them as
legitimate prey. The trip to the Te-jon Pass was made without incident
or accident to delay our movements, but on our arrival it was found
that the Commissioners had been gone several days, and were probably
then in Los Angelos. This we learned from an Indian styled by his
“_christian name_” Don Vincente. This chief was a Mission Indian, and
spoke some Spanish. His people, although in appearance hardly equal to
the mountain tribes, provided themselves with fruit and vegetables of
their own raising.

From “Senor Don Vincente” we obtained roasting ears of corn, melons,
etc., which were an agreeable surprise. While on the trip we had found
game in abundance, and, surfeited with fresh meat, the vegetables
seemed better than any we had ever before eaten. Vincente’s system of
irrigation was very complete.

Captain Boling was not anxious to follow the trail of the Commissioners
beyond this camp. I had already informed him of my desire to see the
Commissioners and make some examination of that locality before our
return. He therefore decided to retrace his own steps, but to send me
on as a special messenger to the Commissioners.

He instructed me to make all possible despatch to deliver his report
and messages, but on my return trip I had liberty to make such delays
as suited my convenience. He also wished me to convey a verbal message
from Major Savage to Colonel Fremont, to the effect that the Indians
congregated at the Fresno were anxiously awaiting the arrival of
some of his cattle. Col. Fremont had already made a large contract
for supplying them with beef, and was supposed to be in Los Angelos
or vicinity, buying up animals for the agencies. My arrangements for
following the Commissioners were hardly commenced, before Col. William
T. Henderson, a ranchman from near Quartzberg, rode up to our camp. He
was an acquaintance, and was on his way to Los Angelos with a King’s
River Indian guide. I at once saddled my mule, and taking an extra
animal furnished for the occasion, joined Henderson, making the trip a
more agreeable and pleasant one than I had anticipated.

Col. Henderson afterwards became famous, at least among his friends,
as chief instrument under Captain Harry Love, of causing the death
of “Joaquin Muriata” and “Three fingered Jack,” and in capturing two
or three of Muriata’s band of robbers. On entering the city of Los
Angelos, I found Col. McKee at his hotel. Neither Col. Barbour nor Col.
Fremont were in the city. Doctor Woozencroft was in San Francisco.
I was cordially received and hospitably entertained by Col. McKee
while I made my report, and answered his questions. At his request, I
stated a few facts relating to the Yosemite Valley, and he appeared an
interested listener; but distinguishing a look of incredulity, when
I gave him my estimates of heights, I made the interview as brief as
possible. Ascertaining that Col. Fremont was only a few miles from
the city, I rode out to his camp, delivered my message, and gave him
a general view of the situation in Mariposa county, where his famous
estate is situated. I staid over night with him and was hospitably
provided for.

The Colonel’s whole bearing was that of an accomplished man of the
world, and I felt that I was in the presence of a gentleman of
education and refinement. During the morning I watched his vaqueros or
herdsman training the cattle preparatory to starting north for their
destination. This breaking-in process was accomplished by driving them
in a circle over the plain near the camp, and was done to familiarize
them with each other, and with the commands of the herdsmen, before
attempting to drive them from their native grazing grounds.

On my return to the city I again called on Colonel McKee to see if he
had any return message to Major Savage. On my first visit the subject
of reservations was not presented. Upon this occasion it was naturally
brought up by an allusion to the Colonel’s plan of “_christianizing the
poor Indians_.” My doubt of the feasibility of this work was better
concealed than were his doubts of my heights of the Yosemite, and with
considerable fervor the good old gentle man unfolded his plans for the
christianizing of the Indians. His estimate of the number in Mariposa
county was simply fabulous, and when I quietly asked him if he supposed
there were really so many, he, with some choler, answered, “Why, sir,
these figures are official.”

During this conversation, I was informed that the Fresno, King’s River
and Te-jon Pass selections would be recommended, although it appeared
that the latter was claimed as an old and long disputed Spanish grant.
On stating that I had had some idea of locating in the vicinity of the
Te-jon Pass as soon as that selection was decided upon, I was advised
by Colonel McKee to be in no haste to do so, but was assured of his
good will in any application I might make after their policy was
established; for, added the Colonel, “Major Savage has already spoken
of you as an energetic and efficient person, and one calculated to
materially aid us in future work with these Indians.”

Let it suffice here to say, that I never made application for a permit
as a licensed trader on any Indian reservation; and I am not yet aware
that any of these reservations have afforded the Indians means of
self-support. I was somewhat familiar with the management of the Fresno
agency, and do not hesitate to say that it was not wholly commendable.
I was not personally familiar with that of the Te-jon Pass agricultural
management. This was one of the most delightful regions of California;
and the region covered by the Mexican or Spanish grant was, in my
opinion, intrinsically more valuable than the whole of the celebrated
Mariposa estate of Col. Fremont, which had “millions in it.” After
a vast amount of money had been expended on this reservation by the
general government, I believe it was confirmed as a Spanish or Mexican
grant, and finally passed into the possession of General Beal, who was
for some years Superintendent of Indian Affairs in California. I never
saw General Beal, and therefore was only able to judge of him or his
management through his official reports and letters relating to the
Indian Affairs of California. These will receive some special notice
further on.

My recollections of the interviews with Colonel McKee, are of a most
agreeable character. The sincerity with which he advised me with regard
to my individual affairs, and the correctness of his representations of
the prospective condition of the Tejon Pass, if it should prove a valid
Mexican grant, was serviceable to me, and subsequent events verified
his judgment. Colonel McKee was a high-minded christian gentleman, but
really unsuited to deal with the political element then existing on the
Pacific-coast. The other two commissioners, Colonel Barbour and Dr.
Woozencroft, I never became acquainted with, though upon one occasion
I met Colonel Barbour at head-quarters, and received a very favorable
impression of his character. In leaving Colonel McKee after my second
interview, I could not at once relinquish my design of ultimately
establishing myself near the Tejon. Having completed my business, I
reported myself to Henderson as ready, and found that he also had
been able to despatch his affairs, and had no business to detain him
longer. Together we took a stroll through the principal street, and
visited some popular resorts. However angelic the unseen portion of
this city–of then less than two thousand inhabitants–may have been,
it appeared to us as a city of fallen angels with their attendant
satellites. Although our observations were made in a dull portion of
the day, we witnessed on the street one pugilistic encounter, two
shooting affrays, and a reckless disregard of life, and property
rights generally, never allowed in a civilized community. We soon
discovered that good arms and a firm demeanor were the only passports
to respectful consideration.

The authorities seemed too indifferent or too timid to maintain order,
or punish the offenders against law. Satisfied that the “City of
Angels” could exhibit more unadulterated wickedness than any other town
in the State at that time, we shook the dust from our feet, and in
order to get an early start the next morning, rode out to the vicinity
of Col. Fremont’s camp. Our party was increased by the addition of
two gentlemen, who joined us for protection and guidance. The name
of one of them has escaped my memory; the other was Doctor Bigelow,
of Detroit, Michigan, a geologist, who at one time was engaged in a
geological survey of a portion of Lake Superior; We left our camp
before sunrise, Henderson and myself riding in advance; our guests,
Indian and pack-mule bringing up the rear. This order of traveling
was maintained as a matter of convenience, for being well mounted,
Henderson and myself were able to secure deer, antelope and a supply of
smaller game, without hardly leaving the trail or delaying our progress.

Among the foot-hills of the mountain slopes we saw several black bears
cross the trail ahead, but not being out of meat, we did not urgently
solicit their company. We did, however, once have our appetite aroused
for “bar meat,” but failed to supply the material for the feast.
Halting for a rest at the foot of a ravine, and being very thirsty, we
followed the indications to water exhibited by our mules. These were
secured while we explored the brushy ravine for the water-hole. As we
reached the desired water, two fat cubs came waddling out of the pool,
and ran into a clump of dwarf willow.

Congratulating each other on the prospect of roast cub for supper, we
tried to get a shot with our revolvers, but a rousing demonstration
from the parental bear, which suddenly appeared, alarmed our
cautiousness, and we retreated hurriedly, but in good order, to the
place where we had carelessly left our rifles. Hastily mounting, we
returned the compliment by at once charging on the bear and her cubs,
which were now endeavoring to escape.

As we approached near enough for the mules to see and scent the game,
they halted, and commenced _marking time_. Neither spurs or the butts
of our rifles could persuade them to make a forward movement. Thinking
I might secure a cub that stood temporarily in sight, I raised my
rifle, but in so doing slackened the reins, when with the ease and
celerity of a well-drilled soldier, my mule came to an “_about face_,”
and instantly left that locality. Henderson’s mule became unmanageable,
and after a lusty “we-haw! we-haw!” followed me, while the affrighted
bear family scrambled off in search of a place of security. Pulling
up as soon as we could control our frightened animals, Henderson
congratulated me on possessing one so active on a retreat, while I
complimented the intelligence of his own, which would not voluntarily
endanger his master.

After a hearty laugh at our comic illustration of a bear hunt, it was
mutually agreed that a mule was not reliable in a charge upon bruin.

A mule may be the equal of a horse in intelligence, but his inferiority
of spirit and courage in times of danger prevents his becoming a
favorite, except as a beast for work or mountain travel.

On arriving at the rancheria of the chief Vincente, I induced Henderson
to stop and explore the country. The luscious watermelons and abundant
supplies of vegetables were strong arguments in favor of a few days’
rest for our animals and recreation for ourselves. In the meantime
Doctor Bigelow had told us of a traditional silver mine that he had
been informed existed somewhere in the locality of the Te-jon. I found
the pompous old chief fond of displaying his knowledge of agriculture,
which was really considerable, and I complimented him upon his success,
as was deserved.

After paying him for the things liberally supplied our party, and which
with a show of Spanish courtesy he intimated he had given us because
he was “a good Christian”–though he frequently crossed himself while
expressing his fear of “witches” or demons–I opened up the subject of
the old silver mine. I designated it as some kind of a mine that had
once been worked by an Englishman. We were told by “Don Vincente” that
such a mine had been discovered many years before, by white men, who,
after working it for awhile, had been driven off or killed; “but for
the love of God” he could not tell which. We expressed a wish to visit
the old mine, and asked permission of the chief. He told us it was not
in the territory claimed by him, and he was thankful that it was not,
as the location was haunted. When asked if he would furnish us a guide,
who should be well paid for his service, he answered, “Go, and God go
with you, but none of my people shall go, for it would bring upon us
evil.” We were shown the mouth of the ravine, after some persuasion,
but no argument or inducement could procure a guide to the mine.

“Don Vincente,” like all the Mission Indians of California, I found to
be strongly imbued with the superstitions of the _wild tribes_, and
a firm believer in the power of human departed spirits to harm the
living. Many, like those of the east, believed that the wizards or
sorcerers could put a spell upon a victim, that if not disenchanted
would soon carry him to his grave.

Leaving our extra animals in the care of Vincente, we took our course
towards the mouth of the ravine pointed out to us, southwest of the
Tejon. After a tedious and difficult search, a discovery of some
_float_ mineral was made, and following up these indications, we found
some very rude furnaces, and a long distance above discovered the mine,
which had evidently been abandoned for years. We procured some of the
best _specimens_ of the ore, and being unable to determine its value,
forwarded some to assayers in San Francisco. Doctor Bigelow pronounced
the mineral to be that of antimony, but said that it might possibly
contain some of the precious metals, but it was quite evident that he
placed but little commercial value upon the mine. The reports finally
received from the assayers were very unfavorable, and our visions of
untold wealth vanished with the smoke of the assay.

On our return from the exploration of the “_Silver Mine_,” we carefully
concealed our discovery from Vincente and his people, and avoided
exciting their curiosity. Our animals were rested, and in an improved
condition, for the grass was rich and abundant. Don Vincente was as
much delighted with our presents of tobacco and trinkets, which we
had carried with us for such occasions, as any of the “_Gentile_”
nations would have been. We took our departure from the hospitalities
of the Mission Chief without having had any occurrence to divert the
mutually friendly feelings that had been fostered in our intercourse.
We had designed, on starting from the rancheria of Don Vincente, to
leave the direct trail to Mariposa, and explore the lake region of
the Tulare valley. Unfortunately for the success of this undertaking,
we made our first camp too near the marshy shore of Kern Lake. We had
selected the camp ground for the convenience of water and fresh grass
for our animals, but as night closed in, the mosquitoes swarmed from
the surrounding territory, making such vigorous charges upon us and our
animals, that we were forced to retreat from their persistent attacks,
and take refuge on the high land away from the vicinity of the Tule
or Bullrush marshes. Having no desire to continue the acquaintance of
the inhabitants who had thronged to welcome our approach, our ambition
for making further exploration was so much weakened, that we silently
permitted our mules to take their course towards the direct trail. Col.
Henderson declared that the mosquitoes on these lakes were larger, more
numerous, and in greater variety, than in the swamps of Louisiana, and
Doctor Bigelow said that hitherto he had rather prided himself, as
a Michigander, on the _earnest_ character of those of Michigan, but
that in future, he should be willing to accept as a standard of all
the possibilities of mosquito growth, those that had _reluctantly_
parted with us at Kern Lake. Keeping the rich alluvial low lands on our
left, we crossed a strip of alkali plain, through which our animals
floundered as if in an ash heap. This Henderson designated as a “_dry
bog_.” Deviating still farther to the right to avoid this, an old trail
was struck, either Indian or animal, which led us into the main trail
usually traveled up and down the valley. At the crossing of one of the
numerous mountain streams, we found a good camping place on a beautiful
table overlooking this rich territory, where we would be secure from
the assaults of _enemies_.

After a refreshing bath in the cool waters of the stream, we slept the
sleep of the blessed, and mosquitoes once more became to us unknown
objects of torture. The next morning we found ourselves refreshed and

Our animals, like ourselves, seemed to feel in elevated spirits, and
as we vaulted into our saddles at an early hour, they moved rapidly
along in the cool and bracing air. As we rode, drove after drove of
antelope and elk were seen, and one small band of mustangs approached
from the west, when, after vainly neighing to our mules, they turned
and galloped back toward their favorite resort, the west side of the
valley. Sometimes, with a halting look of scrutiny, a coyote would
cross our trail, but their near vicinity was always recognized by our
vigilant mules with a snort and pause in their gait, that was probably
designed to intimate to us that it might be another bear. We beguiled
the time in discussing the amazing fertility of the country we were
traversing, and the probability of its future occupancy. At the present
time, thriving cities and immense wheat fields occupy localities where
in 1851 game and wild mustangs roamed almost undisturbed by the white
man’s tread, or the flash or gleam of his unerring rifle. There is
still room for the enterprising settler, and the upper end of the San
Joaquin Valley may yet be called the sportsman’s paradise. The lakes
and streams swarm with fish, and are the resort of water-fowl, and
deer, elk and antelope are still plentiful in secluded localities.

We reached the Fresno in safety without interrupting incidents, and
without further attempt at exploration. Colonel Henderson, Doctor
Bigelow, and his companion _du voyage_, after a short halt passed on
to Quartzberg, while I stopped over to make my report to the Major. To
my extreme surprise, Major Savage questioned me as to the cause of my
tardiness, saying he had been expecting me for two or three days past,
and that the cattle were now within the valley and would in a short
time be at the reservation. After sufficiently enjoying my astonishment
at his knowledge of my movements and those of Fremont’s herders, he
informed the that his old power and influence over the Indians had
been re-established, and that reports came to him from the different
chiefs of all important events transpiring in their territory. He
soon satisfied me that through a judicious distribution of presents
to the runners, and the esteem in which he was held by the chiefs, he
was able to watch the proceedings of strangers, for every movement
of our party had been reported to him in detail. I was cordially
received by the Major, as a guest in his new trading house, which he
had erected during our absence. We discussed the probable future of
the management of Indian affairs in California, and the incidents of
my trip to Los Angelos. The Major informed me that the battalion had
been mustered out of service during my absence (on July 25th, 1851),
but that my interests had been properly represented and cared for, as
far as he had been able to act without my presence. But in order to
receive compensation as interpreter and for extra medical services, it
was discovered that separate accounts and vouchers would be required,
which he and Captain Boling would at any time certify. The major then
informed me that he had made his arrangements to recommence his trading
operations on as large a scale as might be required. That he could make
more as a trader than as an employe of government, and at the same
time be free from their cares and anxieties. He advised me to take a
subordinate position until I should be able to decide upon a better
location. He said he could make my position a profitable one if I
desired to remain with him.

The major gave me a general insight into his future plans, and some of
the sources of his expected profits. After this conversation, I gave up
all idea of establishing at the Tejon or any where else as a government
trader. Having been so long absent from my private business, which I
had left under the management of a partner; I made this a sufficient
excuse for my departure the next morning and for my inability to accept
the major’s kindly offer. As I was leaving, the major said: “I was in
hopes to have secured your services, and still think you may change
your mind. If you do, ride over at once and you will find a place open
for you.”

This confidence and friendship I felt demanded some return, and I
frankly said; “Major Savage, you are surrounded by combinations that
I don’t like. Sharp men are endeavoring to use you as a tool to work
their gold mine. Beside this, you have hangers-on here that are capable
of cutting your throat.” Contrary to my expectation the Major was not
in the least offended at my frankness; on the contrary, he thanked me
for my interest and said: “Doc, while you study books, I study men.
I am not often very much deceived, and I perfectly understand the
present situation, but let those laugh who win. If I can make good my
losses _by_ the Indians _out_ of the Indians, I am going to do it. I
was the best friend the Indians had, and they would have destroyed me.
Now that they once more call me “Chief,” they shall build me up. I
will be just to them, as I have been merciful, for after all, they are
but poor ignorant beings, but my losses must be made good.” Bidding
the Major good morning, I left him with many kindly feelings, and as
I rode on my solitary way to Mariposa, I thought of his many noble
qualities, his manly courage, his generous hospitality, his unyielding
devotion to friends, and his kindness to immigrant strangers. These all
passed in review before my mind, and then, I reversed the picture to
see if anything was out of proportion; in the picture I had drawn of
my hero. There were very serious defects, but such as would naturally
result from a misdirected education, and a strong will, but they were
capable of becoming virtues. As to the Major’s kindly offer, although I
appreciated his feeling’s towards me, I could not accept it.

With many others, I had joined in the operations against the Indians
from conscientious motives and in good faith to chastise them for the
numerous murders and frequent robberies they were committing. Our
object was to compel them to keep the peace, that we might be permitted
to live undisturbed by their depredations. We had sufficient general
intelligence and knowledge of their character to know that we were
looked upon as trespassers on their territory, but were unwilling to
abandon our search for gold, or submit to their frequent demands for
an ever-increasing tribute. Beside other property, I had lost four
valuable horses, which were taken to satisfy their appetites. Neither
Bonner’s nor Vanderbilt’s love for horses, was ever greater than was
that of those mountain Indians. No horse was considered too valuable
for them to eat. Notwithstanding all this sense of injury done to my
personal interests, I could not justify myself in joining any scheme
to wrong them, or rather, the government; and it was too plainly
evident that no damages could be obtained for losses, except through
the California Indian Ring that was now pretty well established. During
the operations of the Battalion, the plans of the Ring were laid, and
it was determined that when the war should be ended, “a vigorous peace
policy” should be inaugurated. Estimates of the probable number of
Indians that it would be necessary to provide for in Mariposa county
alone, accidentally fell under my observation, and I at once saw
that it was the design to deceive the government and the people in
regard to the actual number, in order to obtain from Congress large
appropriations. These estimates were cited as official by Col. McKee,
and were ten times more than the truth would warrant. Major Savage
justified his course in using the opportunity to make himself whole
again, while acting as a trader, and in aiding others to secure “a good
thing,” by the sophism that he was not responsible for the action of
the commissioners or of Congress.

After being mustered out, the members of the battalion at once returned
to their various avocations. I was fully occupied with mining and
trading operations, and hence gave little heed to affairs at the
Fresno. Through Captain Boling, however, who was elected Sheriff of the
county, and whose business carried him to all parts of the country, I
learned of the appointment of Col. Thomas Henly as agent for the tribes
of Mariposa county, and as sub-agents M. B. Lewis for the Fresno and
Wm. J. Campbell for the King’s River Agencies. I afterwards met Col.
Henly and Mr. Lewis in Mariposa, and was much pleased with the Colonel.
Both of these gentlemen were kind and genial; but Mr. Lewis soon tired
of his office as unsuited to his taste, and accepted a position in the
State Government under Major Roman. His successor, I believe, was Capt.
Vincinthalor. Old Ten-ie-ya, and his band, were never recipients of
friendly favors from Savage, nor was he in very good standing with the
agent. This was known to the other chiefs, and they frequently taunted
him with his downfall. The old chief chafed under the contemptuous
treatment of those who had once feared him and applied to the sub-agent
or farmer for permission to go back to his mountain home. He claimed
that he could not endure the heat at the agency, and said he preferred
acorns to the rations furnished him by the Government.

To rid itself of the consequences engendered by these petty squabbles
with the old chief, the management at the Fresno consented to a
short absence under restrictions. Ten-ie-ya promised to perform all
requirements, and joyfully left the hot and dry reservation, and
with his family, took the trail to the Yosemite once more. As far
as is known, Ten-ie-ya kept faith and disturbed no one. Soon after
his departure, however, a few of his old followers quietly left the
Fresno as was supposed to join him, but as no complaints were made by
their chiefs, it was understood that they were glad to be rid of them;
therefore no effort was made to bring them back. During the winter
of 1851-52 a considerable number of horses were stolen, but as some
of them were found in the possession of Mexicans, who were promptly
executed for the theft, no charge was preferred against the Yosemites.

Early in May, 1852, a small party of miners from Coarse Gold Gulch,
started out on a prospecting tour with the intention of making a visit
to the Yosemite Valley.

The curiosity of some of these men had been excited by descriptions of
it, made by some of the ex-members of the Battalion who had gone to
Coarse Gold Gulch, soon after their discharge. This party spent some
little time prospecting on their way. Commencing on the south fork of
the Merced, they tested the mineral resources of streams tributary to
it; and then, passing over the divide on the old trail, camped for the
purpose of testing the branches leading into the main Merced. While at
this camp, they were visited by begging Indians; a frequent occurrence
in the mining camps of some localities. The Indians appeared friendly,
and gave no indications of hostile intentions. They gave the party to
understand, however, that the territory they were then in, belonged to
them, although no tribute was demanded. The miners comprehended their
intimations, but paid no attention to their claim, being aware that
this whole region had been ceded to the Government by treaty during the
year before.

Having ascertained that they were a part of the Yosemite Band, the
miners by signs, interrogated them as to the direction of the valley,
but this they refused to answer or pretended not to understand.
The valley however, was known to be near, and no difficulty was
anticipated, when the party were ready to visit it, as an outline
map, furnished them before starting, had thus far proved reliable.
Unsuspicious of danger from an attack, they reached the valley, and
while entering it on the old trail, were ambushed by the Indians from
behind some rocks at or near the foot of the trail, and two of the
party were instantly killed. Another was seriously wounded, but finally
succeeded in making his escape. The names of the two men killed were
Rose and Shurbon; the name of the wounded man was Tudor.

The reports of these murders, alarmed many of the citizens. They
were fearful that the Indians would become excited and leave the
reservations, in which case, it was thought, a general outbreak would
result. The management of the Fresno agency was censured for allowing
Ten-ie-ya to return to the valley, and for allowing so considerable
a number of his followers to again assemble under his leadership.
Among the miners, this alarm was soon forgotten, for it was found that
instead of leaving the reservations, the Indians camped outside, fled
to the agencies for protection, lest they should be picked off in
revenge for the murders perpetrated by the Yo-sem-i-tes. The officer in
command at Fort Miller, was notified of these murders, and a detachment
of regular soldiers under Lt. Moore, U. S. A., was at once dispatched
to capture or punish the red-skins. Beside the detachment of troops,
scouts and guides, and a few of the friends of the murdered men
accompanied the expedition. Among the volunteer scouts, was A. A. Gray,
usually called “Gus” Gray. He had been a member of Captain Boling’s
company and was with us, when the valley was discovered, as also on our
second visit to the valley under Captain Boling. He had been a faithful
explorer, and his knowledge of the valley and its vicinity, made his
services valuable to Lt. Moore, as special guide and scout for that
locality. The particulars of this expedition I obtained from Gray. He
was afterward a Captain under Gen. Walker, of Nicaragua notoriety.
Under the guidance of Gray, Lt. Moore entered the valley in the night,
and was successful in surprising and capturing a party of five savages;
but an alarm was given, and Ten-ie-ya and his people fled from their
huts and escaped. On examination of the prisoners in the morning, it
was discovered that each of them had some article of clothing that had
belonged to the murdered men. The naked bodies of Rose and Shurbon were
found and buried. Their graves were on the edge of the little meadow
near the Bridal Vail Fall.

When the captives were accused of the murder of the two white men, they
did not deny the charge; but tacitly admitted that they had done it to
prevent white men from coming to their valley. They declared that it
was their home, and that white men had no right to come there without
their consent.

Lieutenant Moore told them, through his interpreter, that they had
sold their lands to the Government, that it belonged to the white men
now; that the Indians had no right there. They had signed a treaty
of peace with the whites, and had agreed to live on the reservations
provided for them. To this they replied that Ten-ie-ya had never
consented to the sale of their valley, and had never received pay for
it. The other chiefs, they said, had no right to sell their territory,
and no right to laugh at their misfortunes.

Lieutenant Moore became fully satisfied that he had captured the real
murderers, and the abstract questions of title and jurisdiction, were
not considered debatable in this case. He promptly pronounced judgment,
and sentenced them to be shot. They were at once placed in line, and by
his order, a volley of musketry from the soldiers announced that the
spirits of five Indians were liberated to occupy ethereal space.

This may seem summary justice for a single individual, in a republic,
to meet out to fellow beings on his own judgment; but a formal judicial
killing of these Indians could not have awarded more summary justice.
This prompt disposition of the captured murderers, was witnessed by a
scout sent out by Ten-ie-ya to watch the movements of Lieutenant Moore
and his command, and was immediately reported to the old chief, who
with his people at once made a precipitate retreat from their hiding
places, and crossed the mountains to their allies, the Pai-utes and
Monos. Although this was in June, the snow, which was lighter than
the year before at this time, was easily crossed by the Indians and
their families. After a short search, in the vicinity of the valley,
Lieutenant Moore struck their trail at Lake Ten-ie-ya, and followed
them in close pursuit, with an expressed determination to render as
impartial justice to the whole band as he had to the five in the
valley. It was no disappointment to me to learn from Gray, that when
once alarmed, old Ten-ie-ya was too much for Lieutenant Moore, as he
had been for Major Savage and Captain Boling. Lieutenant Moore did
not overtake the Indians he was pursuing, neither was he able to get
any information from the Pai-utes, whom he encountered, while east of
the Sierras. Lieutenant Moore crossed the Sierras over the Mono trail
that leads by the Soda Springs through the Mono Pass. He made some
fair discoveries of gold and gold-bearing quartz, obsidian and other
minerals, while exploring the region north and south of Bloody Cañon
and of Mono Lake. Finding no trace whatever of the cunning chief, he
returned to the Soda Springs, and from there took his homeward journey
to Fort Miller by way of the old trail that passed to the south of the

Lieutenant Moore did not discover the Soda Springs nor the Mono Lake
country, but he brought into prominent notice the existence of the
Yosemite, and of minerals in paying quantities upon the Eastern Slope.
Mr. Moore made a brief descriptive report of his expedition, that found
its way into the newspapers. At least, I was so informed at the time,
though unable to procure it. I saw, however, some severe criticisms of
his display of autocratic power in ordering the five Yosemites shot.

After the establishment of the “Mariposa Chronicle” by W. T. Witachre
and A. S. Gould, the first number of which was dated January 20, 1854.
Lieutenant Moore, to more fully justify himself or gratify public
curiosity, published in the “Chronicle” a letter descriptive of the
expedition and its results. In this letter he dropped the terminal
letter “y” in the name “Yosemity,” as it had been written previously
by myself and other members of the battalion, and substituted “e,” as
before stated. As Lieutenant Moore’s article attracted a great deal of
public attention at that time, the name, with its present orthography,
was accepted. A copy of the paper containing Moore’s letter was in my
possession for many years, but, finally, to my extreme regret, it was
lost or destroyed.

To Lieutenant Moore belongs the credit of being the first to attract
the attention of the scientific and literary world, and “The Press”
to the wonders of the Yosemite Valley. His position as an officer of
the regular army, established a reputation for his article, that could
not be expected by other correspondents. I was shown by Gray, who was
exhibiting them in Mariposa, some very good specimens of gold quartz,
that were found on the Moore expedition. Leroy Vining, and a few chosen
companions, with one of Moore’s scouts as guide, went over the Sierras
to the place where the gold had been found, and established themselves
on what has since been known as Vining’s Gulch or Creek.

On the return of Lieutenant Moore to Fort Miller, the news of his
capture of the Indians, and his prompt execution of them as the
murderers of Rose and Shurbon, occasioned some alarm among the timid,
which was encouraged and kept alive by unprincipled and designing
politicians. All kinds of vague rumors were put in circulation. Many
not in the secret supposed another Indian war would be inaugurated.
Political factions and “Indian Rings” encouraged a belief in the most
improbable rumors, hoping thereby to influence Congressional action,
or operate upon the War Department to make large estimates for the
California Indian Service.

This excitement did not extend beyond the locality of its origin, and
the citizens were undisturbed in their industries by these rumors.
During all this time no indications of hostilities were exhibited
by any of the tribes or bands, although the abusive treatment they
received at the hands of some, was enough to provoke contention. They
quietly remained on the reservations. As far as I was able to learn
at the time, a few persons envied them the possession of their King’s
river reservation, and determined to “_squat_” upon it, after they
should have been driven off. This “border element” was made use of by
an unprincipled schemer by the name of Harvey, whom it was understood
was willing to accept office, when a division of Mariposa county
should have been made, or when a vacancy of any kind should occur. But
population was required, and the best lands had been reserved for the
savages. A few hangers-on, at the agencies, that had been discharged
for want of employment and other reasons, made claims upon the King’s
river reservation; the Indians came to warn them off, when they were at
once fired upon, and it was reported that several were killed.

These agitations and murders were denounced by Major Savage in
unsparing terms, and he claimed that Harvey was responsible for them.
Although the citizens of Mariposa were at the time unable to learn the
details of the affair at King’s river, which was a distant settlement,
the great mass of the people were satisfied that wrong had been done to
the Indians. There had been a very decided opposition by the citizens
generally to the establishment of two agencies in the county, and the
selection of the best agricultural lands for reservations. Mariposa
then included nearly the whole San Joaquin valley south of the Tuolumne.

The opponents to the recommendations of the commissioners claimed
that “The government of the United States has no right to select
the territory of a sovereign State to establish reservations for
the Indians, nor for any other purpose, without the consent of the
State.” The State Legislature of 1851-52, instructed the Senators
and Representatives in Congress to use their influence to have the
Indians removed beyond the limits of the State. These views had been
advocated by many of the citizens of Mariposa county in good faith;
but it was observed that those who most actively annoyed and persecuted
those located on King’s river reservation were countenanced by those
who professed to advocate opposite views. These men were often to be
seen at the agency, apparently the welcome guests of the employes of

It soon became quite evident, that an effort was being made to
influence public opinion, and create an impression that there was
imminent danger; in order that the general government would thereby
be more readily induced to continue large appropriations to keep in
subjection the comparatively few savages in the country.

It was a well known fact that these people preferred horse-flesh and
their acorn jelly to the rations of beef that were supposed to have
been issued by the Government. During this time, Major Savage was
successfully pursuing his trade with the miners of the Fresno and
surrounding territory, and with the Indians at the agency. Frequently
those from the King’s River Agency, would come to Savage to trade,
thereby exciting the jealous ire of the King’s river traders.
Self-interest as well as public good prompted Savage to use every means
at his disposal to keep these people quiet, and he denounced Harvey
and his associates as entitled to punishment under the laws of the
Government. These denunciations, of course, reached Harvey and his
friends. Harvey and a sub-agent by the name of Campbell, seemed most
aggrieved at what Savage had said of the affray, and both appeared
to make common cause in denouncing the Major in return. Harvey made
accusations against the integrity of Savage, and boasted that Savage
would not dare visit King’s river while he, Harvey, was there. As soon
as this reached the Major’s ears, he mounted his horse and at once
started for the King’s River Agency.

Here, as expected, Harvey was found, in good fellowship with Marvin,
the quartermaster, and others connected with the agency. Walking up
to Harvey, Major Savage demanded of him a retraction of his offensive
remarks concerning himself. This Harvey refused to do, and said
something to the effect that Savage had talked about Harvey. “Yes,”
replied Major Savage, “I have said that you are a murderer and a
coward.” Harvey retreated a pace or two and muttered that it was a lie.
As quick as the word was uttered, Savage knocked Harvey down. Harvey
appeared to play ’possum and made no resistance. As Savage stooped
over the prostrate Harvey, a pistol fell from Savage’s waist, seeing
which, Marvin picked it up and held it in his hand as the Major walked
off. Harvey rose to his feet at this moment, and seeing Marvin with
the pistol in his hand exclaimed, “Judge, you have got my pistol!”
Marvin replied, “No! I have not. This belongs to Major Savage.” When,
instantly, Harvey commenced firing at Major Savage, who, though
mortally wounded by the first shot, and finding his pistol gone, strove
hard to once more reach Harvey, whom he had scorned to further punish
when prostrate before him.

This was in August, 1852. Harvey was arrested, or gave himself up, and
after the farce of an examination, was discharged. The justice, before
whom Harvey was examined, was a personal friend of the murderer, but
had previously fed upon the bounty of Savage. Afterwards, he commenced
a series of newspaper articles, assailing the Indian management of
California, and these articles culminated in his receiving congenial
employment at one of the agencies. Harvey, having killed his man, was
now well calculated for a successful California politician of that
period, and was triumphantly elected to office; but the ghost of Major
Savage seemed to have haunted him, for ever after, he was nervous and
irritable, and finally died of paralysis. The body of Major Savage was
afterwards removed to the Fresno, near his old trading post. A monument
was there erected to his memory by Dr. Leach, his successor in business.

I was in San Francisco at the time of these troubles at the agencies;
but upon my return, obtained the main facts as here stated, from one of
the actors in the tragedy.

At about this time, the management of California Indian affairs, became
an important stake in the political circles of Mariposa. I took but
little interest in the factions that were assaulting each other with
charges of corruption. Notwithstanding my lack of personal interest, I
was startled from my indifference by the report of the Superintendent
dated February, 1853. His sweeping denunciations of the people of
Mariposa county was a matter of surprise, as I knew it to be unjust.
This report was considered in a general mass meeting of the best
citizens of the county, and was very properly condemned as untrue.
Among those who took an active part in this meeting were Sam Bell (once
State Comptroller), Judge Bondurant, Senator James Wade, and other
members of the State Legislature, and many influential citizens, who
generally took but a minor interest in political affairs.

The records of the meeting, and the resolutions condemning the
statements of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which were
unanimously adopted, and were published in the “Mariposa Chronicle”
after its establishment, I have preserved as a record of the times.
The meeting expressed the general sentiment of the people, but it
accomplished nothing in opposition to the Superintendent’s policy,
for the people soon discovered that the great “_Agitator_” at these
meetings was a would-be rival of the Superintendent. We therefore bowed
our heads and thought of the fox in the fable. I never chanced to meet
the gentleman who was at that time Superintendent of Indian Affairs,
and know nothing of him personally, but upon reading an official
letter of his dated at Los Angeles, August 22nd, 1853, in which he
speaks of “The establishment of an entire new system of government,
which is to change the character and habits of a hundred thousand
persons.” And another letter dated San Francisco, September 30th, 1853,
saying that his farm agent, Mr. Edwards, “Had with great tact and with
the assistance of Mr. Alexander Gody, by traveling from tribe to tribe,
and talking constantly with them, succeeded in preventing any outbreak
or disturbance in the San Joaquin Valley.” I came to the conclusion
that the Superintendent of Indian Affairs was under astute management,
or that he was one of the _shrewdest_ of the many _shrewd operators_ on
the Pacific Coast. The schemes of the _Indian Ring_ were not endorsed
by Governor Weller, but were practically condemned in a public letter.
The charges against the people of Mariposa by the Superintendent of
Indian Affairs were absurd and grossly insulting to their intelligence.
There had been no assault upon the Indians, except that at King’s
river, led by the hangers-on at one of his own agencies. These men
continued to be honored guests at the tables of his employes, and one
of his most vigorous assailants was given employment that silenced him.

The estimates made by him in his letters and report, were on an assumed
probability of a renewal of Indian hostilities. It was true, murders
were occasionally committed by them, but they were few as compared
with those committed by the Mexicans and Americans among themselves.
The estimate of a hundred thousand Indians in California, was known by
every intelligent man who had given the subject any attention, to be
fabulous. There was probably not a fifth of the number. But that was
of no consequence, as the schemes of the “Ring” were successful. Large
appropriations were made by Congress in accordance with stipulations
of the treaty made between these ignorant tribes, and the Republic
of the United States of America. The recommendations were generally
carried out _in Washington_.

The making of a treaty of peace with Indian tribes, may be correctly
defined as procuring a release of all claims of certain territory
occupied by them. Congress may make appropriations to provide for the
promises made, but it is a well known fact that these appropriations
are largely absorbed by the agents of the government, without the
provisions being fulfilled. The defrauded victims of the _treaty_ are
looked upon as pauper wards of a generous nationality; and the lavish
expenditure of the Government, is mostly consumed by the harpies who
hover around these objects of national charity. This farce of making
treaties with every little tribe as a distinct nationality, is an
absurdity which should long ago have been ended. With formal ceremony,
a treaty of peace is made with people occupying territory under the
jurisdiction of our national organization. A governmental power is
recognized in the patriarchal or tribal representatives of these
predatory bands, and all the forms of a legal and national obligation
are entered into, only to be broken and rebroken, at the will of some
succeeding administration.

An inherited possessive right of the Indians to certain territory
required for their use, is acknowledged, and should be, by the
Government, but to recognize this as a tribal or national right, is but
to continue and foster their instinctive opposition to our Government,
by concentrating and inflaming their native pride and arrogance.

The individual, and his responsibilities, become lost in that of his
tribe, and until that power is broken, and the individual is made to
assume the responsibilities of a man, there will be but little hope
of improvement. The individual is now scarcely recognized by the
people (except he be representative); he is but an integral number
of a tribe. He has a nationality without a country, and feels that
his people have no certain home. He knows that he has been pauperized
by contact with the whites and the policy pursued by the Government
towards him, and he scorns, while he accepts its bounty. These
native-born residents of our common country, are not citizens; their
inherent rights are not sufficiently protected, and, feeling this, they
in turn, disregard the law or set it at defiance. The best part of my
life has been spent upon the frontiers of civilization, where ample
opportunities have been afforded me to observe our national injustice
in assuming the guardianship and management of the Indian, without
fulfilling the treaty stipulations that afford him the necessary
protection. The policy of the Government has seemed to be to keep them
under restraint as animals, rather than of protective improvement as
rational human beings. What matters it, though the National Government,
by solemn treaty, pledges its faith to their improvement, if its
agents do not fulfill its obligations. I am no blind worshipper of
the romantic Indian, nor admirer of the real one; but his degraded
condition of pauperism, resulting from the mismanagement of our Indian
affairs, has often aroused in me an earnest sympathy for the race. They
are not deficient in brain-power, and they should rise from degradation
and want, if properly managed. I am not classed as a radical reformer,
but I would like to see a _radical_ change in their management.

I would like to see the experiment tried by the Government and its
agents of dealing justly with them, and strictly upon honor. I would
like to see those who have the management of Indian affairs selected
because of their fitness for their positions, without making political
or religious considerations pre-requisite, qualifications. Morality and
strict integrity of character, should be indispensable requirements
for official positions; but a division of patronage, or of Indian
_souls_ among the various religious sects or churches, is contrary to
the spirit, if not the letter, of our Federal Constitution, and the
strife this policy has already engendered among the various sects, is
not calculated to impress even the savage with a very high estimate
of Christian forbearance and virtue. The cardinal principles of
Christianity should be taught the children by _example_, while teaching
them the necessity of obeying God’s moral and physical laws. I would
like to see the Indian individually held responsible for all his acts,
and as soon as may be, all tribal relations and tribal accountability
done away with, and ignored by the Government.

The question of a transfer of the Indian Bureau to the War Department,
has been for some time agitated, but it seems to me that some facts
bearing on the subject have not been, sufficiently discussed or
understood. These are that the various tribes are warlike in their
habits and character, and have been engaged in wars of conquest among
themselves ever since they first became known to the white settlers of
the country. Their _immediate_ right to the territory they now occupy
is derived from the dispossession of some other tribe. They recognize
the _lex talionis_ as supreme, and their obedience to law and order
among themselves is only in proportion to their respect for the chief,
or power that controls them. Hence, for the Sioux and other unsubdued
tribes, military control, in my opinion, would be best suited to their
war-like natures and roving habits. The objection that their management
by the War Department had proved a failure, is not a valid one, as when
formerly the Bureau was under its nominal control, all appointments
of agents were made from civil life, as political rewards from those
in power. The political kites, scenting the fat things hidden away in
the office of an agent, pounced down upon them, exclaiming: “To the
victors belong the spoils.” The title of “Major” given the agent was
due to courtesy and the legitimate pay afforded, being that of a major
in the army.

The duties of the office are anything but agreeable to an officer who
has been educated for the profession of a soldier. Few are disposed to
do the incessant drudgery required of an effective agent. As a rule,
the permanency of office, the education and _amour propre_ of military
life, raises the army officer above the temptations of the ordinary
politician; therefore, the _chances_ of an honest administration of
affairs are very much in favor of the War Department. To make that
management more effective, reasonable pay should be given competent
men, as the expenses of frontier life are usually considerable. Years
are required to comprehend and order, a practical management of people
who are, in one sense, but overgrown, vicious children. Such agents
should be retained as long as they remain honest and effective,
regardless of church or political creeds.

As the wild tribes recognize no authority but that of the
_lex-taliones_; by this law they should be governed. _Any attempt
to govern or civilize them without the power to compel obedience,
will be looked upon by barbarians with derision_, and all idea of
Christianizing _adult_ Indians, while they realize the injustice done
them by the whites, will prove impracticable. The children may be
brought under some moderate system of compulsory education and labor,
but the adults never can be. _Moral suasion_ is not comprehended as
a _power_, for the Indian’s moral qualities seem not to have been

The savage is naturally vain, cruel and arrogant. He boasts of his
murders and robberies, and the tortures of his victims very much in the
same manner that he recounts his deeds of valor in battle, his prowess
in killing the grizzly, and his skill in entrapping the beaver. His
treachery, is to him but cunning, his revenge a holy obligation, and
his religion but a superstitious fear. The Indians that have resorted
to labor as a means of future support, should be encouraged and
continued under the care of civilians. Their religious instruction,
like that of the whites, may safely be left to their own choice; but
for the _wild_ savage a just and humane control is necessary for their
own well-being, as well as that of the white people; for even in this
nineteenth century, life is sometimes sacrificed under some religious

The war between different tribes is a natural result of their efforts
to maintain _independent_ sovereignties. The motives that influence
them are not very unlike those that operate upon the most highly
favored _Christian nations_, except that religion, as a rule, has but
little to answer for, as they are mostly of one religious faith. All
believe in the influence of and communion with departed spirits. The
limited support afforded by the game of a given territory, frequently
compels encroachments that result in war. Ambition for fame and
leadership prompts young aspirants for the honors awarded to successful
warriors, and they bear an initiatory torture in order to prove their
fortitude and bravery, that would almost seem beyond human endurance.
After a reputation has been acquired as a successful leader, old feuds
must be maintained and new wars originated to gratify and employ
ambitious followers, or the glory and influence of the successful
chieftain will soon depart or be given to some new aspirant for the
leadership of the tribe. In their warlike movements, as in all their
private affairs, their “medicine men” are important personages. They
are supposed to have power to propitiate evil spirits or exorcise
them. They assume the duties of physicians, orators and advisers in
their councils, and perform the official duties of priests in their
religious ceremonies. In my inquiries concerning their religious faith,
I have sometimes been surprised, as well as amused, at the grotesque
expressions used in explanations of their crude ideas of theology. With
their mythology and traditions, would occasionally appear expressions
evidently derived from the teachings of Christianity, the origin of
which, no doubt, might have been traced to the old Missions. The
fugitive converts from those Missions being the means of engrafting
the Catholic element on to the original belief of the mountain tribes.
Their recitations were a peculiar mixture, but they vehemently claimed
them as original, and as revealed to them by the Great Spirit, through
his mediums or prophets (their “medicine men”), in visions and trances.
These “mediums,” in their character of priests, are held in great

They are consulted upon all important occasions, let it be of war, of
the chase, plunder or of marriage. They provide charms and amulets
to protect the wearer from the evil influence of adverse spirits and
the weapons of war, and receive for these mighty favors donations
corresponding to the support afforded Christian priests and ministers.
The sanctification of these relics is performed by an elaborate
mysterious ceremony, the climax of which is performed in secret by the
priestly magnate. The older the relic, the more sacred it becomes as an

Marriage among the Indians is regarded from a business standpoint.
The preliminaries are usually arranged with the parents, guardians
and friends, by the patriarch of the family, or the chief of the
tribe. When an offer of marriage is made, the priest is consulted, he
generally designates the price to be paid for the _bride_. The squaws
of these mountain tribes are not generally voluptuous or ardent, and
notwithstanding their low and degraded condition, they were naturally
more virtuous, than has been generally supposed.

Their government being largely patriarchal, the women are subjects of
the will of the patriarch in all domestic relations. The result is,
that they have become passively submissive creatures of men’s will.
Believing this to be the natural sphere of their existence, they hold
in contempt one who performs menial labor, which they have been taught
belongs to their sex alone.

The habits of these mountain tribes being simple; their animal passions
not being stimulated by the condiments and artificial habits of
civilized life; they, in their native condition, closely resembled the
higher order of animals in pairing for offspring. The spring time is
their season of love. When the young clover blooms and the wild anise
throws its fragrance upon mountain and dell, then, in the seclusion of
the forest are formed those unions which among the civilized races are
sanctioned by the church and by the laws of the country.

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